Having just completed my first year at University, I’ve learnt a lot of useful things which I can take with me into my second year. I felt this tips could possibly be useful for people starting their first year of University in September, and if even if only one person took something from this post it would be fantastic!
Things To Do Before You Go:
- Be Smart With What You Buy- University is an expensive adventure, and sometimes it can be hard to know what you really need to buy and take with you. If you are staying in halls or University Managed Housing, first go online to check what is included in your rent prices. For example, kitchen appliances such as microwaves, kettles and toasters are not always included. Winchester University had all the information of the housing section of their website, however if your University does not, there will be a housing email you can contact.
- Double Check What You’re Not Allowed- Different Universities have different rules on what you can bring into accommodation and what you can’t. Make sure to double check what isn’t allowed (for example, I wasn’t allowed to have fairy lights candles or mini fridges in my room) so that you don’t accidentally break the rules and cause yourself an unneeded and annoying fine!
- Follow a Checklist- Before I bought anything, a family friend gave me a University checklist they’d seen in John Lewis. Not everything will apply to you, but you can decide what you do need to take and use it to not only purchase things but also for when you’re packing your bags to move out. I’ve linked the online version of the checklist I used here: https://www.johnlewis.com/electricals/off-to-university/c6000360289?rdr=1
- Open Up a Student Bank Account- Although you can keep just your everyday current account for Student Finance to be paid into, I would suggest opening a second bank account. This is because if you have savings or wages it’s easier to see what you’ve spent them on than if your student finance within the same bank. I booked an appointment with my bank to discuss the best account for me to open, and I simply opened another current account alongside my original one so I could easily transfer money between them. However, there are specific student bank accounts with perks, such as a free railcard, NUS card or interest-free overdraft, so make sure to search around before you open an account.
Things To Do Whilst At University:
- Part Time Jobs- If it’s possible, get a job at the University! At Winchester, the cafes, shops, bars, student union and many other positions were run by students. If you need a job and have the opportunity, work at the University. This is because they understand that you are studying, and unlike other jobs will be more understanding with hours and time off when you have essays and exams. From experience, the pay is good if not better than outside work. My friend who worked in the Uni shop had an exam date change the week before, and she was able to easily get the time off work to accommodate this. It’s definitely worth applying if you can!
- Food- Be careful not to buy fresh food which goes of quickly if you’re not going to eat it all. It’s strange to go from seeing a fridge full for a whole family at home, to deciding how much you can eat as one person before it goes off. Also, as food often comes in packs rather than single portions, it’s worth cooking up larger meals and freezing portions, as they will last longer than fresh ingredients. Plastic containers are your best friend!
- Read Everything- The more the read the better prepared you are for assignments and exams. Your lectures will set assigned readings for you to do, but eventually, when you have to write essays you’ll need a lot more references to back up your arguments. Therefore, reading material from the beginning of the course will leave you better prepared when work is set.
- Note Taking- It’s a good idea to write all lecture notes roughly in short hand so that you don’t miss any important information. Some people type their notes straight up, however, I am not the fastest typer so opt for written note taking. It also means that when I’ve gone back and typed my notes up I have two copies of them. I also can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on writing what your lecturer is saying rather than what’s on the presentation that is on the board! This is because at least at Winchester University, the Powerpoint presentations are uploaded online for us to use after the lectures. Therefore, it is the words of your lectures that you can’t go back to revisit later on! Some lecturers will allow you to record their lectures, but make sure to ask them beforehand.
- Tutorials- Tutorials are meetings with your lecturers to speak over essays or anything you want to discuss that is to do with the course. I only had one tutorial in the whole of my first year, and it was to discuss the essay that I did best on! This shows me that I should have booked more tutorials, and plan on doing so at least once a week in my second year. Even if tutorials aren’t openly offered to you, email your lecturers and ask if they have any time to meet you!
I hope these tips and tricks come in handy for some of you, as I know they will do for me come September! The key to remember is that you get what you put into University, so work as hard as you can to get the best result.
Bye for now,